3 Moroccan Hidden Coastal Towns to Visit
Morocco’s Atlantic Coast is a hidden jewel lined with white sandy beaches, picturesque towns, charming souks, and markets. The Coast is also surrounded by tiny fishing villages, farmland and dry tolerant Moroccan gardens,. The majority of Morocco’s coastal towns are untouched awaiting to be discovered. A visit to Morocco’s hidden coast will take you off the beaten path and offer a relaxing yet captivating cultural experience. The towns are fascinating as Moroccan cities and offer a glimpse into intimate coastal life in the Kingdom. Three of Morocco’s hidden coastal towns that are the perfect getaway for a mini vacation are Sidi Ifni, Imsouane and Ksar Massa. Each of these coastal towns would make for the perfect Moroccan road trip or inclusion to a private, guided Morocco Tour.
3 Moroccan Hidden Coastal Towns to Visit
Discover Morocco’s Hidden Coastal destinations boast captivating sunsets. You can paraglide across the Atlantic, hike natural reserves, birdwatch at a lagoon and go by horseback along the shore. Further afield, other possibilities are to venture on a fishing excursion and surf some of the best waves in the world.
#1. Sidi Ifni, Coastal Town & Art Deco Enclave
Sidi Ifni is located in the Souss-Massa region of southwestern Morocco. It is a coveted destination of surfers, beachgoers, and history buffs that appreciate the town’s multifaceted story and Art Deco History. Sidi Ifni has a connection to the indigenous Shilha and Ait Baamrane tribes being is was once a base for slave trading. It is also recognized for a long-held connection to Spain at the time of the Spanish colonization. During the mid 19th century, Spain defeated the Moroccan forces and took possession of the enclave. By 1934, the town Sidi Ifni was fully Spanish and the period of Art Deco architectural buildings and sites were developed. Although Sidi Infi is considered Moroccan territory today, it still retains an Iberian flair. Spain kept hold of the beach town until 1969. Travelers strolling Sidi Ifni’s white and blue painted streets often hear Spanish words like “hola” and “paella” from the locals, most of whom are ardent Spanish football aficionados.
Sidi Ifni has a population of 20,000 people. Fishing is central to the town’s economy with exports originating from the Spanish mainland. Sidi Ifni is seven hours south of Marrakech. The town and surrounding regions of Merlift and Legzira are known for their beautiful beaches and seafood dining options. The weather is mild to warm year round making it an ideal destination during any of Morocco’s four seasons.
Where to Swim:
Sidi Ifni Beach is located within walking distance of cafes, restaurants, hotels and the town center. Recommended daytime activities are cycling, horseback riding, surfing, and organized fishing excursions. For shoppers, the Berber town of Tiznit is just an hour away with an enormous jewelry souk that has some of the best silver available in Morocco.
Legzira Beach is well appointed 20 minutes north of Sidi Ifni and lauded as one of the best beaches in the world for sunbathing and surfing. Legzira has been also described by travelers as a real-life painting. The geological rocky beach artfully connects the Anti Atlas Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. Legzira’s organic cave formations are fascinating and well appreciated by nature enthusiasts. Sunset in Legzira offers stunning views of rock formations surrounded by cliffs in multiple hues of burnt orange. Legzira during high tide when the ocean veil is pulled back and revealed is an ideal time to capture a photograph.
Where To Stay:
Built in 1934, the Logis de Marine guest house is well known for its ocean terrace views. The property has a history of hosting Spanish Naval officers in the 1930s. The design of the house mirrors the Art Deco architecture of the town and has a maritime theme. Views of the Canary Islands are within eyesight of its balcony. This charming Bed and Breakfast is also well equipped with a solarium, bar, dining room, and a small garden. Morning breakfasts include seasonal fruit juices and Moroccan traditional bread. In the evening the local catch of the day is thoughtfully prepared to your taste. Logis de Marine is 60 km from the Guelmim Airport.
Where To Eat:
Nomad Restaurant – is on a side street in the town’s center footsteps of Sidi Ifni Beach. On the menu, you will find mid-range to upscale selections of Moroccan, Mediterranean, European, and seafood dishes. Restaurant goers rave about the Pariada of the Sea, a platter featuring a grilled octopus, calamari, and local catch grilled to taste. Your dining experience will be complemented by a 360-degree ocean view and the Western Blues. Nomad restaurant owner Abdellah is a fan of country music.
Address: 85200 Boulevard Moulay Youssef, Sidi Ifni, Morocco ; +212 662-17-33-08
Chez Sofia – is a tiny family-run establishment in town. Its menu includes seafood couscous, chicken pastilla, and a wide range of vegetarian frittatas. During lunchtime, a Spanish style menu of the day is served. For 100 MAD ($11) you can enjoy a starter, main, and a desert.
Address: Avenue Moulay Youssef, Next door to Nomad
Gran Canaria – is another local restaurant in Sidi Ifni located in walking distance of the Sidi Ifni Cinema and the beach. Gran Canaria has a laid back setting and an international menu. Perfect for families with children the portions are large. Also offered on site is homemade brick oven style Italian pizza. Traditional Spanish paella, Moroccan tagine dishes, vegetarian soups, and pasta options are also part of this beach towns menu with reasonable prices and a high level of quality of ingredients.
Address: 85200 Boulevard Moulay Youssef, Sidi Ifni; +212-658-02-75-02
#2. Imsouane, A Fishing & Surfing Village
Imsouane is a small Berber fishing village appreciated for its tranquility and natural beauty. It is located on a bay of Morocco and wedged between Essaouira and Agadir. Imsouane’s “magic bay is popular with surfers during the winters and summers; they claim that the area offers some of the best waves in the world.
Imsouane attracts Moroccan families during the summertime who come for the inexpensive seafood and relaxing beach setting. Renting an apartment or a villa for a few weeks is easy to do. Ranked by Forbes magazine as one of the 27 most beautiful beaches in the world, Imsouane is somewhat of a paradise destination given it is underdeveloped and not commercial. Imsouane is divided into Tasblast, an area with traditional Moroccan houses, and Amadel, a modern district with villas and inns. The population of Imsouane is under 10,000 and has a fishing-based economy.
Imsouane Beach – is located along a bay area with an enormous cliff that overlooks the beach. Some say it is one of the best places to watch a sunset on the Moroccan coastline. Within walking distance of Imsouane Beach are cafes, seafood restaurants, and apartment houses. Imsouane is an Amazigh word and means the mouth (imi) and water of the sea (isouane). There are two main surf spots in Imsouane, the Bay, for advanced surfers who can drive wider waves and longer rides and the Cathedral, known for smaller waves and for practicing shortboard.
Where To Stay:
Olo Surf & Nature (Dar Zitoun) – you don’t have to be a surfer or yogi to stay at the elegantly designed Dar Zitoun. This whitewashed contemporary villa has an outdoor swimming pool with stunning views of the Atlantic. The property is revered for its hospitality, location with unforgettable cliff top views, sustainable business model, and fine attention to detail. From the well-reviewed meals to the laid back yet luxuriously interior, every detail is considered. Address: Amadel, Imsouane 80000 Morocco ; + 212 700-06-66-63
Where To Eat:
Chez Jolo – is a cozy open-air restaurant perched at the mouth of Imsouane Bay. It offers some of the best-grilled seafood and African sunsets. The decor is basic yet Chez Jolo’s open-air patio is within arm’s reach of the ocean and makes for an unforgettable dining experience. Ask for the catch of the day or try the Sea Bream, their specialty dish. Chez Jolo opens early and is also perfect for morning coffee. Address: Imsouane, 10220, Phone: 0672-825414
Fisherman’s Port – is footsteps from Chez Jolo. Visitors can select fresh catch of heir choice and then bring it to a restaurant of their choosing to grill on the spot. Popular places that will grill fish from the Fisherman’s Port are Chez Jolo, or at Auberge Tawala. Address: R5VH+V7 Imsouane; Phone: +212- 676—73-75-61
#3: Ksar Massa – Sidi Rbat
Sidi Rbat is south of Agadir nestled in Souss Massa Natural Park and the Massa territory. Travelers from around the world visit Sidi Rabat for its serene environment and 60 kilometers of coastline. Photography enthusiasts and bird watchers travel to catch a glimpse of this exotic birdlife. Sidi Rbat is famous for its thousands of caves, some natural and others carved out by local fishermen. On Tuesdays, the Massa area holds a large souk selling fresh fruit and vegetables, baskets and local carpets produced with reed.
Where To Stay:
Ksar Massa – is a boutique lodge and spa at the on the edge of Morocco’s Atlantic Ocean coast. It is a haven of peace nestled on a rampart of dunes, where time seems to be suspended. Ksar Massa, an ochre-hued house reminiscent of a Mexican hacienda. The property is in walking distance of the Massa Lagoon, a protected wildlife area where you can view gazelles, ostriches, terrapins, tortoises, and migratory birds. Ksar Massa has 11 rooms and 7 private apartments, two outdoor swimming pools and two on-site restaurants. The “El Menzah” restaurant serves breakfast and for lunch salads grilled fish. The Erryad restaurant is open during the evening and offers freshly prepared gourmet Moroccan fare inspired by Fassis and Marrakech cuisine.
Address: 38PM+5F Sidi R’bat ; Phone: +2121-661-28-03-19
Sidi Rbat Beach – is charming, off the beaten path, lesser known and not frequented by many tourists. Fishing excursions and cycling tours to nearby villages not far from the beach are some coastal activities to consider.
Souss-Massa National Park – is between Sidi Ifni to the South and Agadir to the North. The park’s reserve covers 33,800 hectares. Given it is between the Souss Massa estuary and the Atlantic Ocean, the national park is home to rolling sand dunes, beaches, and wetlands. Souss-Massa National PPark has been protected by the Moroccan Kingdom since 1991. It is home to seven different Berber tribes, overhanging cliffs, and unique flora. Species to watch for include the Bald Hermit, certain Ibis, flamingos, and the black-headed Tchagra.
Where To Eat:
Restaurant Oued Massa Paradis Berber is situated outside of Sidi Ifni, on the western side of the Oued River. The restaurant serves food prepared in traditional Moroccan earthenware cooked over a wood fire. Berber tagines made of vegetables, kefta, preserved lemon, and chicken and fish are outdoors in a small courtyard.
Address: Tigmi Ljdid Massa Sidi Wassay; +212- 662-56-11-55
Les Grottes (Village of Trog Caves) is within walking distance of the Ksar Massa property and where hundreds of caves line the Atlantic shore. Many of these caves are inhabited by the fisherman who has built cement shanties with outdoor kitchens. The area has been compared to the cliffs in Aglou, an hour south of the Massa region.